January: a chance for change for victims of slavery

By January 7, 2014
Photo courtesy of Bright Hope International

(Photo courtesy of Bright Hope International)

Int’l (BHI/MNN) — For many, the month of January marks the start of something new: a second chance, a change, and a step forward. January is also notable for something much more significant than a new exercise routine or diet.

January 1 marks the start of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States of America. Bright Hope International is one organization joining the effort to raise awareness and help build an understanding of this global tragedy that affects 20 million people.

In 2010, the White House issued an official Presidential Proclamation stating, in part: “During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we acknowledge that forms of slavery still exist in the modern era, and we recommit ourselves to stopping the human traffickers who ply this horrific trade.”

Bright Hope recognizes that the assault on human trafficking is a shared responsibility. This month, they hope to draw attention to this issue and help people gain a greater understanding of modern-day slavery to become advocates for change.

The Presidential Proclamation also states: “The victims of modern slavery have many faces. They are men and women, adults, and children. Yet, all are denied basic human dignity and freedom. Victims can be abused in their own countries or find themselves far from home and vulnerable. Whether they are trapped in forced sexual or labor exploitation, human trafficking victims cannot walk away, but are held in service through force, threats, and fear. All too often suffering from horrible physical and sexual abuse, it is hard for them to imagine that there might be a place of refuge.”

Bright Hope’s Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative is currently located in Northern India. “We believe that the local, in-country church is the critical element to combating this tragedy,” said C.H. Dyer, Bright Hope President and CEO. “Bright Hope’s Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative utilizes a network of over 150 churches that know their community, people, and primary needs better than we do. Our program helps them identify victims, facilitate rescues, and provide physical and spiritual restoration, education, and job training.”

Because the most likely victims of human trafficking are those living in poverty, their desperate situations leave them vulnerable to exploitation. In India, girls rescued from trafficking are oftentimes rejected by their families because they see them as unclean and a disgrace to the family name. In other cases, families are so desperate for money that they sell their own daughters to pay their debts. This is why rescue and rehabilitation through the local, in-country church is crucial and the most effective way to bring Hope to young victims and survivors. In fact, the primary reason Bright Hope began its Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative in Northern India was because the church in India contacted them with the urgent need for assistance.

Bright Hope desires to bring empowerment for change through Jesus Christ to these survivors. Together with their allies’ support, they believe that they can end this horrific violation of the human body and spirit and bring Hope to the broken. Join Bright Hope this month in being a voice for the voiceless.

It is important for these individuals exploited by the sins of the world to hear the hope of the Gospel. Along with partnering with Bright Hope, you can pray for awareness around the world as well as a universal desire to end this slavery.

Learn more about Bright Hope’s Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative and read stories of the survivors.

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